Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Enemy

Today I began putting together some thoughts on The Problem with Communication in my workplace. Looking for a quote to grab the interest of my lucky audience, I Googled a dimly remembered "we have seen the enemy and he is us".

And discovered Pogo. While I head off to Wikipedia to try and catch up with American culture (I seem to be at least sixty years behind: Why Was I Not Told?), I'll leave this amuse bouche for anyone who shares my ignorance:

"There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.
That's fighting talk. (Just love those tiny trumpets.)

I am grateful to Marilyn White for her wonderful site, "I Go Pogo",where Google sent me for the quote. And, of course, to the witty, wise and courageous Walt Kelly, the Creator.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

DON'T help!

Here's a nice thought from Michael Neill.

If you saw a young bird pushed from the nest, you might instinctively reach out and catch it while it's still falling. And you might think you've saved it from almost certain death.

Whereas in fact you'd be saving it from almost certain life.

He isn't quite so plonkingly neat about it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Song of Love and Hate

I can't help wondering whether DBYW223 (which, as the judge said, I strongly suspect to be an assumed name) really understood Leonard Cohen's exquisite warts and all love song to the USA when he posted these clips.

In the first, delirious and fizzy rapture you may be blind to any faults in the Desired Object. But as true love grows, you recognise the less attractive parts of the Beloved. And this doesn't matter, because what you really love is the soul that lies within.

So yes, America may have a journey still to travel, but surely its history is much more than the series of war crimes suggested by the work of the very angry young man (some guesses here) who tacked the video together. Here is something a little more considered.

So much depends on context. It’s OK to be aware of the flaws in your own country, and right to be angry about them: this is certainly better and safer than the mindless jingoism that takes over the tabloids at times of stress. But knocking another country that you don’t know or love is generally foolish, reducing any conversation to an exhilarating trade in insults.

Even this can be quite fun.

It’s hard to know what to say about this, though. I used to think that the tragedy of “Democracy” was that only an American could sing it properly. Once again, the Quo have confirmed my prejudices. Having grown old disgracefully into everlasting dad rockers, they have lost none of the chutzpah that endeared them to the nation. I am appalled. Though you have to admire their cheerful cheek.